Scientists find how to predict efficacy of drug treatments for heart attacks

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Scientists from The Ohio State University have developed a mathematical model of a myocardial infarction, popularly known as a heart attack.

The new model predicts several useful new drug combinations that may one day help treat heart attacks.

The research is published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology and was conducted by Nicolae Moise et al.

Typically caused by blockages in the coronary arteries—or the vessels that supply blood to the heart—these heart events are experienced by more than 800,000 Americans every year, and about 30% end up dying.

But even for those who survive, the damage these attacks inflict on the muscles of the heart is permanent and can lead to dangerous inflammation in the affected areas of the heart.

Treatment to restore blood flow to these blocked passages of the heart often includes surgery and drugs, or what’s known as reperfusion therapy.

In the study, the team used mathematical algorithms to assess the efficacy of the drugs used to combat the lethal inflammation many patients experience in the aftermath of an attack.

Represented by a series of differential equations, the model the team created was made using data from previous animal studies.

The team chose to model how certain immune cells like myocytes, neutrophils and macrophages—cells imperative to fighting infection and combating necrosis (toxic injury to the heart)—react to four different immunomodulatory drugs over a period of one month.

These drugs are designed to suppress the immune system so that it doesn’t cause as much damaging inflammation in parts of the heart that were damaged.

This research focused on the drugs’ efficacy an hour after the mice were treated.

The team found that certain combinations of these drug inhibitors were more efficient at reducing inflammation than others.

They say depending on their health beforehand, it can take a person anywhere from six to eight months to heal from a heart attack.

The quality of care patients receive in those first few weeks could set the tone for how long their road to recovery will be.

Because Moise’s simulation is purely theoretical, it won’t lead to improved therapies anytime soon.

More precise data is needed before their work can become an asset to other scientists, but the team does envision the model as a potential tool in the fight against the ravages of heart disease.

If you care about heart attacks, please read studies about how to chomp away plaques that cause heart attacks, and how to treat and prevent heart attack in people with diabetes.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about foods that could help you lower high blood pressure, and results showing what heart and stroke patients should know about COVID-19 vaccines.

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